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Chapter 2. The Commerce Value Chain > The Legal Environment

The Legal Environment

The rapid development of computer and communications technology has presented many challenges for legal systems around the world. For example, the ability to gather, correlate, and search large volumes of information about individuals and organizations raises questions of privacy that simply did not arise before the technology was developed. These challenges are magnified by the pace of technology's evolution, which moves much more quickly than the legal system. Some experts and other observers are calling for wholesale changes in the law to adjust to a technology revolution.

In this book, we take a practical view of the legal situation for Internet commerce. Business operates in a legal environment, and many business practices are codified or enforced by the legal system. Contracts, for example, are governed by law, but this law arose out of the needs of businesses. Legal systems will not change overnight, but they may certainly adapt to new business practices and requirements that arise from Internet commerce. Many of the key questions that arise for online businesses are not settled, and new laws and court decisions will change the rules. The important point is that the legal environment is an integral part of the world that Internet commerce systems live in, and we must be sure to take it into account in developing strategies for Internet commerce.


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